Holy moly, it’s been a while, friends! Sorry about the radio silence over here. As some of you know, I started a new job in September and things have been a bit crazy on the home front. And as much I love doing empties posts (and you all seem to love reading them), they’re the most time-intensive blog posts I write. Since we’re almost done with October and I’ve got a new stash of empties piling up, it’s time to get reviewing the August/September empties!
Per usual, I’ll break things up into categories and do reviews. Let’s start with skincare!
Mac Fix Plus in Coconut – I love mini Fix+ for travel because the mist part has a lock mechanism. I like the mist, but even though I like coconut, I didn’t love a coconut scented mist. I’m using the rose one now and I like it a lot. Value = $12
Youth To The People Kale + Tripeptide 5 Vitamin C Serum – Vitamin C serums are difficult for me but I enjoyed this a lot. Anything with hyaluronic acid in it is up my ally. I did not notice any irritation with this. It’s a clear liquid consistency. It paired well with other things. I’m trying to finish my Brooklyn Botany vitamin c but I might purchase this after I finish it. Value = $16.53
Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser – I seem always to have minis of this cleanser around. I like it, but I tend to prefer acid exfoliation or an occasional physically-exfoliating mask over exfoliating cleansers. I did like to mix this with her mask as a “flash facial,” as suggested by the brand. I have at least one more to use eventually but I wouldn’t purchase the full size. Value = $22.87
Leahlani Champagne Serum – This is my second bottle of this and I feel like I have to backtrack to the first bottle to fully review it. I purchased my first bottle as soon as Caroline Hirons turned me onto the brand and said that this was one of her favorite products. I lived in Southern California at the time and my skin was normal to slightly oily. I loved the tropical smell of the product and enjoyed using it in conjunction with her masks, but found it took a long time to absorb and probably wasn’t the best fit for me so I used it up but did not repurchase. Fast forward to Christmas 2017, I got another bottle in the last Caroline Hirons for Cult Beauty box and since I had moved to Minnesota, I was excited to try it again. I immediately noticed that the color was a little different. Leahlani added blue tansy to the formula and I really don’t understand that choice. I know blue tansy is popular, and I love it in May Lindstrom blue cocoon, but blue tansy is not native to Hawaii and that change in scent takes away from the product for me. Otherwise, I had a very similar experience with this the second time around, and found it did not absorb quickly enough for me. I like other Leahlani products, but this one isn’t for me. Value = $38
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% – After I finished my Paula’s Choice niacinamide booster, my sweet friend Lara (@myfairskincare) sent me her barely used niacinamide from The Ordinary. It’s not good. It caused products to pill and I did not notice any decrease in pore size (while I did when using the Paula’s Choice). I wouldn’t purchase anything affiliated with Deciem even if I loved it. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Google it but only if you have an hour to waste.) Clearly, I’ve gone back to the Paula’s Choice. Value = $5.90
IS Clinical Eclipse SPF 50 – These were so handy to keep in my purse! I generally prefer physical sunscreens and this is a chemical sunscreen, but it worked well. I didn’t notice any white cast or have difficulty getting it to absorb. Value = $4.40 each
Supergoop Forever Young Hand Cream – I’ve heard good things about this, but it was terrible. It left my hands chalky and dry. I love the idea of having a hand cream with SPF so you’re protecting your hands, but this is definitely not it. Value = $.76
Supergoop Everyday Sunscreen SPF 50 – I have to admit that I did not finish this before it expired. I remember thinking it was decent, for whatever that’s worth but it did not wow me. Value = $2.67
Supergoop Setting Mist SPF 50 – This is the only mini SPF mist I’m aware of so I like it for that reason. I could throw it in my purse or leave it in the car to reapply over makeup. I have another one! It’s kind of expensive, but it’s important to be able to reapply over makeup that it’s worth it to me. Value = $12
Lather lemongrass bamboo body scrub – I LOVED the scent of this! It’s kind of a dry scrub but when you add water, it foams a little and gives a nice scrub. (Full disclosure: I purchased this at a discount through Join Palm.) I would definitely repurchase. Value = $39
Tatcha indigo body gommage – This was the fanciest body scrub I’ve ever used. It was a total splurge (although I did get it 20% off) but I won’t rave too much because it was limited edition and isn’t available anymore 😦 I really like the whole indigo line from Tatcha. Value = $74
Meow Meow Tweet baking soda free grapefruit deodorant – I posted in this post about a different Meow Meow Tweet deodorant not working for me and the brand kindly offered to send me samples of some of their other deodorants. I was happy to try others and I think this one worked okay, but I just haven’t found a “natural” deo that is fully effective for me.
Osea Malibu anti-aging body balm – This was in my first Beauty Heroes sub box, which I reviewed here. I went through this really quickly and it just didn’t wow me for the money. Value = $16
Twig + Birdie body oil – I tragically dropped an almost full bottle of this on the bathroom floor and it shattered 😦 I saved what I could and put in this reused bottle. It was lavender and neroli goodness and I would love to repurchase eventually. Value = $35 (most of which was, sadly, wasted…)
Rituals Indian rose hand balm – Ya’ll know I love a good hand cream! This was pretty good. Nothing super original to say about it… Value = $2.43
L’Occitane shea butter hand cream – A stand by. You can’t go wrong with L’Occitane if you like a thick but not greasy hand cream. Value = $2
Trader Joe’s rose shea butter hand cream – This is a total dupe for the L’Occitane and I love the rose scent. I haven’t seen it the last couple of times I’ve been to Trader Joe’s so I’m glad I bought a back up! I’m crossing my fingers it returns, or maybe new scents! If you see it, grab it! Value = $4
Mally Volumnizing Mascara – This was in an Allure beauty box. I expect volume that doesn’t smudge from my mascaras, and unfortunately, I did not find this volumnizing at all. It lengthened and it stayed put pretty well but I need more volume. Value = $20
Marc Jacobs highliner in (brown)ie – I love the Marc Jacobs eyeliners so this was no exception. I got this one free from Influenster but I would repurchase. The shade is fairly warm-toned, a little reddish brown, so it paired well with all of the warm-toned eyeshadow palettes that are so popular right now. These are creamy, easy to apply, and don’t budge. Tip: the bottom comes off to re-shape the tip (since this is a twist up). Value = $25
SkinFix Lip Repair Balm in Mint – I like a lot of lip balms, but I hated this. It was thin and not at all moisturizing so I’m throwing it away. Value = $5
Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment with SPF 15 in Bloom – LOVE these. They are so smooth and moisturizing and have a decent color payoff but you can apply without a mirror. This shade was a cooler toned pink. I liked it but I probably prefer the shade Petal. Value = $24
Burt’s Bees chapstick in Coconut & Pear – Love a good chapstick 🙂 The coconut and pear flavor was delicious. Would totally repurchase. Value = $2.90
Hair & Miscellaneous
Hunting Home candle in Gardenia – These Aldi candles are a steal! I haven’t checked out the fall scents; this was one of the spring ones. But I enjoyed it. It burned evenly and was so cheap! Value = $4
White Barn Cactus Blossom candle – I don’t know how to describe this scent, but the B&BW website says cactus flower, coconut, vanilla and lemon. I enjoyed it. I love getting these half-off when that promo comes around. Value = $24.50
Batiste dry shampoo in blush – This giant can (400 ml) was super cheap at Marshall’s but kind of a pain to store… Otherwise, I love Batiste. I will continue to repurchase. It’s the best dry shampoo I’ve found in terms of absorbing oil, although it can leave a white cast. I don’t have trouble getting that whiteness to absorb so that doesn’t bother me. Value = $10
Aerin garden rose perfume sample – I really enjoyed this. I don’t think there’s an Aerin fragrance I’ve smelled that I haven’t liked. One of these days I’ll splurge 😉
Jo Malone wild bluebell sample – My sweet friend Kristin (@lacquerandlipstick) sent me this and I really enjoyed the scent, but, sadly, it did not last very long on me.
L. Erikson ponytail holder – I realize it’s sort of weird to discuss a stretched out ponytail holder in an empties post, but they’re SO GOOD that I felt the need to share that with you! I know everybody loves Invisibobble and those are good, but these do not leave any kinks at all. I got one in a Birchbox a million years ago and bought a tube of a variety of colors that I’m still going through because they last a long time. Highly recommend! Value = $1.20
Sheet Masks and Foil Samples
Farmacy deep moisture mask (these have been repackaged); Eclado double wired lifting mask peption 5; H. Lab black truffle aqua mask; Sephora rose face mask – I used all of the sheet masks in the shower, which was an awesome suggestion from Frankie so I felt about the same about all of them except for the double wired lifting mask, which was in two pieces and was too much hassle. Total Value = $24.10
Charlotte Tilbury matte revolution lipstick sample in Very Victoria – This was kind of a useless sample so if you order from CT, don’t bother with the lipstick samples. I love the matte revolution line but I was afraid the shade Very Victoria would be too brown for me. It didn’t appear to be from what I could tell from the sample, but there was so little product to test, I still can’t say for sure.
Drunk Elephant protini moisturizer sample – I LOVED this. It was hydrating and reasonably thick but definitely not heavy and absorbed nicely. If I didn’t have a million mini moisturizers to get through, I would buy the full size right now.
Giorgio Armani luminous silk foundation sample in shade 4 – This was a decent formula, but it didn’t blow me away. Maybe my expectations were too high because I’ve heard people rave about this foundation. It was a good color match. I would definitely want to test further before considering a purchase.
Tatcha silken pore perfecting SPF 35 – I have a full size of this. It’s so expensive but it’s SO nice. I’m sure when I finish my current bottle I will look again for something cheaper but I keep coming back to this because the finish is so beautiful.
Real Techniques brush cleansing gel – I hated this. I didn’t find it very effective and I didn’t like the smell.
Total value for these two months = $432.66! (As always, this is my calculation of value, not necessarily what I spent.)
Thanks for sticking with me during the break, and I sincerely hope to have another new post up soon!